While the Conservatives in Cornwall may celebrate winning control of the council in last week’s election, they had one notable setback: Liberal Democrat Thalia Marrington won the Mousehole, Newlyn and St Buryan division, which has been Tory for as long as anyone can remember.
What did it take for the Tories to lose England’s biggest fishing port? According to those sages at the Guardian it was the Cornish fishing vote turning against the government after the Brexit deal. Others argue that the traditional rivalry between farmers and fishermen means they were never going to vote for a farmer like William Bolitho. Bolitho is a name that carries brand recognition in this part of Cornwall; but generally as land-owners, bankers and lords-lieutenant, rarely — outside of Alexander Kent’s Cheapjack Aubrey novels — sailors. Real nerds would claim it was the redrawing of the division’s boundaries to take in St Buryan — the village in Straw Dogs and a Lib Dem stronghold.
But the real reason is less exciting — as Steerpike reported last month, the Labour party’s candidate Jon Lansman dropped out of the running too late for his party to find a replacement. Thalia Marrington only needed 63 votes to beat the Conservatives, and the former boss of Momentum effectively gave them to her.
Who knew that Lansman’s only success in uniting the left vote and kicking the Tories out would be when he didn’t take part in the election?